At something over 17 minutes, the clip below is longer than I normally post here, but it really is worth seeing, and it gets better as it goes along.
The best parts have to do with a charming, smiling 16-year-old Syrian girl named Noujain Mustaffa, who taught herself to speak fluent English by watching her favorite soap opera, Days of Our Lives. If for some reason you don’t have time to watch the whole piece, then please at least watch the two segments she’s in, from 3:35 to 4:45 and from 12:00 to the end.
As Oliver suggests in passing, the situation is more complex than can be fully explored in 17 minutes. There are good arguments in favor of admitting refugees, out of enlightened self-interest as well as human decency, but at the same time, not all opposition is founded only in ignorance and bigotry. And most of the refugees themselves would probably prefer to stay in their homes if they could.
We should be careful to avoid mentally putting ourselves only in the place of one of the parties. If your first impulse is, like mine, to look at things from the European viewpoint, also imagine what it would be like to risk your life to flee your country for another, giving up everything you own except for what you can carry, and facing a risk of dying on the way because the danger to yourself and your family is even greater staying behind.
Earlier posts on the same subject:
- A six-minute animated briefing about the refugee crisis.
- Hank Green on the Syrian Civil War
- John Green on the refugee situation in Europe and elsewhere